Being the leader of the day, the lider del dia, is tough. You are responsible for counting everyone on the bus, you have to remind the glimpsers to drink water, and even make sure that they are healthy by asking if they have pooped. But, I think the hardest part for me was giving BIG LOVE to our speaker today (it’s hard to give thanks to someone when you’re crying).

Esteban Polanco is the leader of the Federacion De Campesinos. He has worked long and hard to try and earn the rights of farm workers. At the same time, he is devoted to reclaiming the rural area of Rio Blanco from a private company building a hydroelectric dam and mining companies from exploiting and contaminating the area’s natural resources. Although they lack support and funding from the government, they still earned something greater — respect.

As I and the rest of the glimpsers sat in a circle around Polanco, we listened to him speak with a passion-filled voice and inspiring words. I cried during his speech and I cried again as I gave him his certificate for participating in Global Glimpse for two reasons. One, of course, is that his words left a long lasting impact on everyone that was there to listen. He said we must find a cause and hug it passionately and let it grow with us because even if we die, we’ll have children (physically and metaphorically) there to take care of it.

But, the second reason is something any Global Glimpser can relate to — I was homesick. In that moment, hearing Polanco talk about his cause and how he motivated us to do something greater with our lives reminded me of my dad. It was the first time I realized that I missed home. Polanco reminded me of my dad, in appearance and attitude. I miss my dad, he’s my best friend, but I also understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that he wouldn’t want me to waste time crying over him. This was a learning experience for me and now I understand more about myself and the people that I value the most in my life. That’s what being the Leader of the Day represents: learning to let your vulnerability flourish and allowing yourself to become grounded and grateful.

If I could be the Lider Del Dia again, I would (even if I have to go through the stress all over again). I loved the experience. Tough, but worth it.

P.S. If you’re reading this dad, just know that I miss your hugs and that I love you chino <3